Friday, May 15, 2009

Investment Clubs and Clubs in General

Do you invest in the stock market? I know, at the moment, even if you do or did, you may be wishing you hadn’t. That’s because 401Ks and IRAs are fluctuating so dramatically, we almost don’t want to touch them for fear they will fall even further, or worse, skip up then drop back like a stone.
Some people are rather good at investing and can do it all by themselves, while others either not being very good at it and/or knowing nothing about it have brokers manage for them. And if you did want to do it yourself, how would you learn? Buy a book? Right, that always works. Have you ever heard of a stock club? For the past twelve years, I’ve belonged to one that I helped form. It started out as travel agents and comic book writers and/or their wives. An odd mix, but that’s what we were. We still have travel agents, one Graphic Novel writer’s wife (don’t call them comic books anymore), but the rest are not. We meet once a month, and are part of the national organization of NAIC: National Association of Investment Clubs.
We pay a yearly fee to belong, which gets each of us a monthly magazine, and we can purchase software and do most of our accounting, taxes, and investigations of stocks on line. The national organization provides guidelines, which allowed us to write our own bi-laws and set up our minimum and maximum monthly investment amounts. We each received a handbook on the way the organization felt we should go about studying stocks and what we should take into consideration before buying. We elected a permanent treasurer, and rotated our chairperson and secretary. We have a different foodie each month, though we always meet at my house for the meetings except for our picnic in the summer and our Christmas party.
Besides a very friendly group of women getting together to study and learn about stocks, we have a rather fun time. Once we started buying stock, we each had to take a stock to watch and keep up with their business progress and future prospects. We are all expected to have ideas about what stocks to invest in, and NAIC has two charts we can complete to show whether they would be a good, not so good, or bad investment. We all vote to buy and/or sell, and sometimes we vote to buy only when the stock has reached a certain price. We do the same with selling. We haven’t done too badly, even now during our country’s present financial dilemma. If we are down, it is because people leave the club and we have to cash them out. It wasn’t such a problem in the beginning, there wasn’t much invested, but now that the club is older and the investments are bigger, one big investor leaving will demand that we sell stocks we’d prefer to hold on to.
It’s surprising how much fun a learning less can be. I remember when I was younger, clubs were the rage. Even schools organized clubs and set aside times for them to meet, and the more successful ones scheduled activities after school. Doesn’t seem like there’s much of that anymore. I’m talking about the local stuff that may take you out once or twice a month, not the on line groups. Don’t get me wrong, I love all my on line groups, but I try to go to conventions and conferences to meet those people in person.
So, do you belong to a local club of any kind? Are you much of a joiner? Were you ever? Does that sort of thing appeal to you?


Wilfred Bereswill said...

On most issues, I tend to be a lone wolf or stick with a few trusted friends. Financially, I used to invest with a close friend who I thought was a wizard at picking companies. No shot to him, but it turns out that a monkey could have made money in the big tech days. Now I have most of everything with a financial advisor that I picked carefully and trust.

With writing on the other hand, I joined a number of clubs. I'm still active with some of them for a totally different reason. But as with investing, I don't belong to critique groups and I bounce ideas off a few close friends.

queenofmean said...

I haven't belonged to much in the way of clubs over the past few years (okay, couple of decades). Most of what I've been involved with that required regular meetings were in some way related to my kids (PTA, Just Say No, Soccer Boosters). Now that my kids are older, those sort of things require less & less of my time. I would like to join some clubs that are just for me, tho. I think it's important to a person's mental health to get out & have activities outside of work & home.